Values: 6. Prayerful

Romans 8:26-27   Philippians 4:6-7

May God grant us the grace we need to hear His word and the faith we need to respond . Amen

Over the last few weeks we have been thinking and talking about the values that shape and form our understanding of what it means to be a church that:

Knows God, Father Son and Holy Spirit and worships Him in Spirit and truth

A church that Grows in faith and discipleship through prayer, study and trust so we can

Show God’s love by serving our community and sharing the good news of Jesus in the power of the Spirit.

This is our vision

You can find a sheet stating our vision and values in the carousel at the back of the church.

Today is about prayer. Are we a prayerful church?

            One Sunday the following obituary reading was distributed at the First Neglected Church. This is how it read:

Mrs Prayer Meeting died recently at the First Neglected Church on Worldly Avenue.  Born many years ago in the midst of great revivals, she was one of the most influential members of the church family.  For the past several years Mrs. Prayer Meeting has been failing in health.  At the last she was but a shadow of her former self.  Her last whispered words were inquiries concerning the absence of her loved ones, now busy in the markets of trade and places of worldly amusements.

 Experts, including Dr. Works, Dr. Reform, and Dr. Joiner, disagreed as to the cause of her fatal illness.  They had administered large doses of organizations and socials, but to no avail.  A postmortem showed that a deficiency of spiritual food, coupled with the lack of faith and general support, were contributing causes.  Only a few were present at her death. In honor of her going, the church door will be closed on Wednesday nights. 

Unfortunately, that obituary could be read in many churches and over many Christians. 

         But it is to be hoped that it never applies to us here in All Saints..

.  God has done everything possible to incite us to pray, to excite us to pray, and to invite us to pray. But strangely enough, we often do anything but pray. In our reading from Philippians we are told “Do not worry about anything but in everything by prayer and supplications, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”

  Now I find in this verse a comprehensive theology of the most powerful force in the universe, the power of prayer..The theology of kneeology. If we hope to see God move us in awesome power, we are going to have to get on our hypothetical knees. 

 The Christian life is won or lost in the consistent, faithful, practice of the basics of our faith, prayer, worship, bible study, Then we can be courageous in dreaming big dreams taking risks and seeing where God is at work

So I want to talk to you about talking to God. Because when the church prays, God gets involved!

I think there are five keys to an effective prayer life.

1st:      SANCTIFIED PRAYER

 Sanctified prayer has to do with one’s position.  Do you understand what position God expects from you before He will hear your prayer?  I’m not talking about body position.  You don’t have to be down on your knees for God to hear your prayers.       Sanctified prayer is prayer that may be uttered through the lips but comes from the heart.  In Hebrews 10 it says “And since we have a great High Priest over the house of God, let us approach, with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience” 

2nd:  STEADFAST PRAYER

Steadfast prayer relates to persistence and perseverance in prayer.  Too often we give up or become discouraged when God doesn’t answer our prayer the way we think He should or as quickly as we want Him to.I learned a long time ago that God answers all prayer but in a variety of ways

He sometimes directly answers our prayers. Or He may delay answering our prayers for some time. Because God is sovereign He occasionally answers our prayers differently to how we are expecting. .And He sometimes denies our prayers so we don’t always get what we think we want   God will answer our prayers if we pray steadfastly. 

3rd:       SPECIFIC, UNITED PRAYER

How we pray is important and with whom we pray is just as important. God sometimes wants us to pray specifically and in unison with our brothers and sisters. Corporate prayer is part of our worship. All  our hearts joined in praying for the same thing is very powerful. 

4th:      SENSITIVE PRAYER SPIRIT-FILLED PRAYER

Effective prayer is prayer that is sensitive to God. Did you realise that prayer is a two-way street?  When you pray, God listens. But often, God talks back!

We need to learn to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us during prayer.  We need to be still and silent and seek to know what we are being led to pray about        

5th:      SURRENDERED PRAYER

This key pertains to the believer’s willingness to submit to the Lord’s will in prayer.  Now many Christians believe today that whatever we pray for God is somehow obligated to do it.  They say as long as we pray in Jesus’ name, and have enough faith that God must answer.  What these well meaning believers often forget is the need to surrender to God’s will.  We must learn to pray according to the will of the Father. Even Jesus didn’t have every prayer He prayed answered by the Father!  He prayed that the Father might take away the cup of His suffering, His shame and His sacrifice.. But then He prayed, “not my will but yours be done.”

If only we all can learn to pray with such a surrendered heart!  I don’t know about you, but I’m glad God doesn’t always give me everything I ask for.

It was Shakespeare who so wisely wrote:

                          We, ignorant of ourselves,

                            Beg often our own harms,

                          Which the wise powers

                            Deny us for our good;

                          So find we profit

                            By losing of our prayers.

         A minister once stood up and gave this testimony in a conference.  He said, “I prayed for fifteen years, as a young man, for God to give me a big church and a pretty wife.”  He continued, “He almost answered my prayer.  He gave me a big wife and a pretty church.”

God hears our prayers whether we pray together in church or alone. Whether our prayers are longer considered, and for specific needs, or arrow type prayers for an immediate situation.

God is calling us to pray. God is calling us to pray steadfastly. God is calling us to pray because then “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

Let us pray

Dear Lord, help me – every day – to find faith in the midst of the chaos. Give me the desire and ability to see You, hear You, talk to You, and give thanks to You. And as I do, I pray that I will draw nearer and nearer to You, and that my faith will grow as I understand in new, deeper ways that You are everything I ever hoped You would be.. And so much more. Amen.